Articles of Faith VII: Gifts of the Spirit

Seven is the best number, right? This should be a super long one. Well, nope, it’s rather short and simple.

We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

These are all gifts of the Spirit, something that we, as a church, strongly believe in. The Holy Ghost can do amazing things, and when His influence abounds… miracles happen. These miracles are often in the form of these gifts. We can all have them, though we all don’t possess the same gifts. We each have our individual strengths and weaknesses in every aspect of our lives, especially the spiritual aspect.

Paul speaks of the gifts of the Spirit to the Corinthians,

For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: (1 Corinthians 12:8-10)

Let’s break up the seventh statement and go through it.

Gift of Tongues (and interpretation of tongues) – This one is simple: foreign languages. When LDS people speak of this gift, we aren’t referring to someone having a seizure in their pew and spouting off jibber jabber no one else can understand. When we speak of the gift of tongues, we are literally meaning the ability to communicate (and be understood) in a different language. Thousands of LDS missionaries are blessed with this gift when they travel to foreign lands and need to learn a new tongue fast. The Spirit of God is not a spirit of confusion. He is a spirit of understanding and comprehension.

The Gift of Prophecy and Revelation – These two gifts often go together. We can all receive personal revelation for ourselves and those we have stewardship over. This is prophecy… on an individualistic level. We can all be prophets in this sense. However, only the prophet can receive revelation for the entire Church and the world. Today, the prophet is Thomas S. Monson. As God’s prophet on the earth today, he can receive revelation for us all.

Visions and Dreams– This one is touchy, and should be handled delicately. Many of us have had interesting dreams in which we have had a special spiritual experience. Throughout the world’s history, prophets of God have had visions and dreams. In fact, we find in Numbers 12:6,

And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.

This is actually a rather common way for God to communicate to His prophets. Like I said though, it’s a delicate thing. Personally, I don’t know too much about this topic, and I honestly can’t say I’ve had any first hand experience with it.

Healing – Numerous times did Jesus Christ heal. His apostles also healed many times. This gift can be separated into two categories: faith to heal, and faith to be healed. It takes faith on both ends. Some are blessed with tremendous faith to heal, while others have tremendous faith that healing can take place.

To put it simply, we believe the Spirit of God is still very active in our day. Miracles have not ceased, and if they do, it will be because of our lack of faith.

Articles of Faith IV: Gospel of Christ

Here we go, number four:

We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

You could say that these are the steps to becoming a disciple of Christ. To be His follower, one must of course obey His gospel. We believe that the first step is to exercise faith in Jesus Christ. We must believe He is our Savior, otherwise there isn’t any point to anything else we do. Our faith in Christ is the foundation of our testimony in Him and His gospel.

The second step is repentance. Faith and repentance go together. We can’t repent of our sins if we don’t believe Christ is the Savior and that He suffered and died for our sins. We must apply His atonement and ask Heavenly Father’s forgiveness of our sins, made possible through Christ.

And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. (Romans 5:11)

Faith and repentance are daily things, however. We must exercise faith each day and daily repent of our sins. In this way we can always keep Christ in remembrance, which will deliver us from the power of Satan.

Preach unto them repentance, and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ; teach them to humble themselves and to be meek and lowly in heart; teach them to withstand every temptation of the devil, with their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. (Alma 37:33)

Faith and repentance are the first principles. The first ordinances are baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Baptism is essential. Christ taught that without it, one cannot enter into the kingdom of God. And it must be done by the correct authority. The same goes for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

In the Acts we find an example of this ordinance being performed by Peter and John.

Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)

Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. (Acts 18:15-17)

This is the basic doctrine of Jesus Christ that Latter-day Saints believe in. I know they are true. Stay tuned for more Articles of Faith! HOW EXCITING!


The Power and the Gift

The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. You can read more about Him and His role here, in one of my previous posts. In the Church of Jesus Christ, when one is baptized, he or she receives the gift of the Holy Ghost. There is a difference, however, between the gift of the Holy Ghost and the power of the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Ghost can descend upon anyone, guiding him or her in whatever way God wants. There’s a simple anology that can be made. The power of the Holy Ghost is like a bolt of lightning. You can imagine life as a journey through a dark forest. Everything is black; nothing can be seen. Just as lightning may strike, illuminating the path for a second, the Holy Ghost may dwell for a moment and give needed guidance to continue onward.

Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost is like receiving a flashlight. It’s constantly with us, lighting the trail every second of the way, so long as we are worthy of it.

We can see instances of this in the scriptures.

Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the wordof God, they sent unto them Peter and John:

Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)

Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. (Acts 8:14-17)

When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. (Acts 19:5-6)

I know that only through the complete authority, found only in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, can one be endowed with the gift of the Holy Ghost, and that said gift is needed to enter into the kingdom of God.

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)

“This is life eternal, that they might know thee…”

When Joseph Smith was a young boy, he was confused about the different Christian sects that existed. He wanted to join a church, but did not trust his adolescent judgment enough to make such an important decision. He was reading one night in the Bible, in the epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse which says that “if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God.” Joseph reflected upon this verse again and again, and finally decided to do as James directs.

He walked a short distance from his house into a grove of trees and offered up a prayer to God. He wanted to know which church he should join. In the prophet Joseph’s own words, this is his account,

“I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. . . When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”

Something significant was learned in just this one encounter. From this experience we find out that God the Father and Jesus Christ are two separate beings, and that Jesus Christ is indeed God’s Son. We also discover that God and Jesus Christ have bodies of flesh and bone and that we are literally made in the image of God.

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3)

Christ Himself states that life eternal is to know Him and Heavenly Father. I testify that God is not an unknowable being. Nor is He one in three persons or personalities. For how can one think to know God if He is someone else, but at the same time… not? Or how can they think to know their Savior if He is also two other persons… but not?

 I testify that God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are literally three separate, distinct beings. God the Father is literally our Father. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and literally our Eldest Brother. And the Holy Ghost is Their messenger, testifying of Them to us. In this way is the Godhead known and understood. Three separate Beings with one purpose, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

A Second Witness

The Book of Mormon is something that is often misunderstood. I’ve met a lot of people that refer to it as the “Mormon Bible”. Some people don’t think that Latter-day Saints even believe in the Bible, or that we don’t put the Bible into any high regard.

Here’s the truth: “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.” ~ Joseph Smith (Articles of Faith 8)

The Holy Bible is the word of God. Mormons firmly believe this. We love the Bible for what it contains, especially concerning Jesus Christ’s mortal ministry and the dealings of His original twelve apostles. Through the centuries it has gone through numerous translations and unfortunately has been, to a degree, altered by man. It is a miracle that it has survived throughout the years. No doubt God has preserved it. But corruption has entered in. Many precious truths that it once contained have been changed or removed by those under the influence of Satan.

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, is exactly what the subtitle suggests. It is another testament. The Bible contains the Old and New Testaments; the Book of Mormon contains Another Testament. It does not add to or take away from the Bible, but is simply more of God’s word. The Book of Mormon serves to support and complement the Bible, and it gives important and necessary doctrines that the Bible lacks. Together they go hand in hand to testify and teach of Jesus Christ.

If you don’t believe me, read the Book of Mormon. See for yourself what it contains.

This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. (2 Corinthians 13:1)

The Book of Mormon is a second witness of Jesus Christ. Read it and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, find out for yourself. I can promise you that if you do so sincerely, wanting to know if it is true, and having faith in Jesus Christ, you will receive your answer.

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. (1 John 21:25)

Distractions and Dentifrice

One of my favorite books is Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Written in the ’50s, it takes place sometime in the future, when books and literature of all kinds are shunned from society for what’s considered the good of humanity. Instead of putting out fires, firemen start them. They find houses containing books and burn them to the ground.

The main character is a fireman named Guy Montag who, at a certain point in the story, secretly takes a book from one of the houses to satisfy the curiosity torturing his mind. It happens to be the Holy Bible. He decides to take it out and read it on a subway car. He turns to a random page and his eyes fall upon Matthew 6:28, part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, which reads,

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.

He tries to read the verse, determined to place it within the bounds of his fluttering thoughts, but it’s impossible. A commercial is playing over the subway’s speakers. “Denham’s Dentifrice!” repeats over and over. The hollow-minded passengers around him tap their feet to the commercial’s tune; their mouths subtely twitch to the words. “Denham’s Dentifrice! Denham’s Dentifrice! Dentifrice! Dentifrice!”

Desperately, Montag attempts to shut out the obnoxious advertisement. But the voice and the music is too loud and distracting. In frustration, Montag stands up. “Shut up!” he yells to the speakers. The passengers, shocked, stare at him blankly. The commercial plays on, mocking Montag’s cry.

The subway comes to a halt, and Montag slips out quickly, the only word he can recall from the verse… “lilies…”

Distractions are all around us. Some of them are obvious and blaring, like a commercial for “Denham’s Dentifrice!”. Others are more subtle, slowly pulling our thoughts and hearts away from the things we should truly focus on. Satan will use every tactic available to keep our minds distracted and away from the things of God.

Just like Peter lost sight of the Savior and began to sink, we allow the world around us to take our eyes away from Jesus Christ, away from our Father in Heaven, away from the whisperings of the Holy Ghost, and away from our friends and family.

1 John 2:15-17

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Let us keep an eye single to the glory of God!

Coming Off the Mountain

The Book of Mormon is overflowing with stories we can relate to and learn from. One I’d like to share is the story of Amalickiah (Uh-mal-i-kye-uh) and Lehonti (Leh-hone-tie). Amalickiah was an evil, blood-thirsty, power-hungry man. All he wanted to do was become king of first the Lamanites and then the Nephites, so that he could bring everyone into bondage and under his control. He accomplished half of his designs; he did take the throne of the Lamanite king. He had to do a few things though, before he could accomplish that goal.

The first thing he had to do was take control of Lehonti’s army. Lehonti and his men were Lamanites, and they didn’t want to go up to battle against the Nephites. So they went up to a mountain and refused to fight. Well, the Lamanite king gave Amalickiah an army and commanded him to battle Lehonti. But Amalickiah had other plans. In Alma chapter 47 verse 10 it reads,

And it came to pass that when it was night he sent a secret embassy into the mount Antipas, desiring that the leader of those who were upon the mount, whose name was Lehonti, that he should come down to the foot of the mount, for he desired to speak with him.

The embassy went up three times, and each time Lehonti refused to come down to the foot of the mountain. They were fixed with a determineded resolution that they would not be made to fight against the Nephites. Amalickiah wouldn’t give up though. Since being straightforward didn’t work, he decided to try something a bit sneakier. In verse 12 it reads,

And it came to pass that when Amalickiah found that he could not get Lehonti to come down off from the mount, he went up into the mount, nearly to Lehonti’s camp; and he sent again the fourth time his message unto Lehonti, desiring that he would come down, and that he would bring his guards with him.

Lehonti decides to go along with it and comes just a little ways down the mountain. Amalickiah tells Lehonti to surround his men during the night, and that when they wake up in the morning, he (Amalickiah) would surrender his army to Lehonti, on the condition that Amalickiah would be made second-in-command.

Lehonti agrees and surrounds Amalickiah’s army at night. When they wake up they become afraid and decide to join with Lehonti’s band. So… how does one become leader if he’s second-in-command? Easy. He kills the leader. Verses 17 to 19 read,

Now it was the custom among the Lamanites, if their chief leader was killed, to appoint the second leader to be their chief leader.

And it came to pass that Amalickiah caused that one of his servants should administer poison by degrees to Lehonti, that he died.

Now, when Lehonti was dead, the Lamanites appointed Amalickiah to be their leader and their chief commander.

Amalickiah had cleverly played out his entire scheme, and it worked. So what are we to learn from this story? For us, Amalickiah is Satan. We are Lehonti. Satan wants us to come off our mountain. He doesn’t want us to stand in high places, places of spiritual security. He tempts us, sometimes in obvious ways. Sometimes he tells us to come directly off of the mountain. This usually doesn’t work. When something is obviously wrong, it’s easy to just say no.

That’s when Satan gets tricky. He tells us to only come down part way, and bring our guards. When Satan can’t get us with obvious things, he tries to bring us down in small, subtle ways.

Just a litte bit, it won’t hurt. Just this once, it’s no big deal. You can stop anytime. No one will know.

These are all things that Satan tries to put into our heads. He’s clever, and sometimes we’re tricked, as Lehonti was. Lehonti fell for the trap because he let his greed get the best of him. We often do the same thing, allowing our physical appetitites to distract us from the gentle cautions of the Holy Spirit. Lehonti’s decision cost him his life, and it was in degrees. Our own decisions to give in to Satan’s traps can lead us to spiritual death, and it is often in degrees as well.

May we learn from this lesson. Be watchful and aware. Satan is always tempting us, trying to get us to come off the mountain. We must ignore him and instead listen to the voice of the Shepherd, Jesus Christ. When we build our foundation on Jesus Christ, listen to the Holy Ghost, and pray continually to our Father in Heaven for strength, we cannot fail.

Ask of God

This last weekend was amazing. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to hear from a living prophet of God, apostles, and other church leaders called of God. Of course, the things they say are not to be taken by their word. We must search and study their words and listen to the Holy Spirit of God to know that they are true. As I watched and listened to conference, I can testify that the Spirit was present. Two hours is a long time to sit… and I’m somewhat of a fidgety person. When one session is over, I’ll admit I’m slightly relieved. However, it is also, for a moment, a depressing feeling.

When each session ends, I can without a doubt feel the power of the Holy Spirit lessen. It is always a testimony to me of the divinity of the Prophet’s and Apostles’ callings.

When Joseph Smith was in a position of uncertainty, wanting to know which of the religious sects was right, he came across a verse in the New Testament, which reads,

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5)

He did so (that is, ask of God) and received his answer in a marvelous way, in which he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ.

I am certain that you and I will never have such a thing revealed to us, in that manner. But we can know truth which just as much surety as if we had seen a vision. A Book of Mormon prophet named Moroni stated simply,

And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things. (Moroni 10:5)

If you did not participate in General Conference, I invite you to watch it online at Listen to the Prophet’s voice, and the voice of the Apostles and other leaders. Ask God if their words are true, and by the power of the Holy Ghost, you may know if they are truth.

“Be still and know that I am God.”

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that a lot of my thoughts are centered around or end up leading to the topics of uncertainty and the need and power of faith. Maybe they’re just topics that I feel like I know a lot about. Or maybe God is just finding a clever way to teach myself things. Well, this is another one of those topics. This is also going to be a rather lengthy post, so bear with me. I can promise you it’s worth the time to read.

Last night Elder Holbrook and I had the opportunity to attend an institute class covering the Doctrine and Covenants. For those that may be be unfamiliar with what that is, the Doctrine and Covenants is modern-day revelation, most of which came through the prophet Joseph Smith. It is scripture, and it is the word of God.

During this institute class, we specifically went over verses in the 101st section. To give you a little insight, here’s the introduction to this section,

Revelation given to Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, 16 December 1833. At this time the Saints who had gathered in Missouri were suffering great persecution. Mobs had driven them from their homes in Jackson County; and some of the Saints had tried to establish themselves in Van Buren County, but persecution followed them. The main body of the Saints was at that time in Clay County, Missouri. Threats of death against individuals of the Church were many. The people had lost household furniture, clothing, livestock, and other personal property; and many of their crops had been destroyed.

The obvious point that’s trying to be made here is that life for the Mormons was not fun. The persecution was heavy. Their property was being stolen or destroyed. Mobs drove them from their homes and often sought to kill or otherwise harm them, regardless of gender or age. It was a time of great uncertainty for the Saints of Missouri.

We live in a time where uncertainty is pretty much the norm. In this particular post, however, I’d rather focus on the more subtle uncertainties. The things that make us worry, make us anxious, make us restless or untrustworthy towards people or ideas. We all have these experiences, and we’ll continue to have them the rest of our lives.

So what did the Lord counsel the Saints in Missouri to do? In the sixteenth verse of that section it reads,

Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.

It is advice that He has already given in Psalms 46:10. Simply, the Lord tells them to settle down, relax, and trust in Him. Trust that He knows what they’re going through. Trust that He knows their doubts, their fears, their anxieties, their sufferings, etc. Trust that He’s aware and is allowing it for a purpose.

Of course, this seems easier said than done, and it is. It’s not easy to simply sit back and just have faith that everything will work out. That our problems will be met with solutions. That our worries will be silenced. That our doubts will find peace. Just like anything in life, it takes time and practice. We learn through experience. We exercise faith just like we exercise our bodies. Our spiritual muscles, so to speak, need to be stretched and torn a little bit, but by doing so they will become stronger and able to endure even more the next time.

Our teacher drew a little equation: Heat + Time + Pressure = Jewel. He even doodled little pictures to go along with the words which were rather humorous. Anyway, the point: you can’t take away any of those things. You can’t take away the heat, or the time, or the pressure. All three are required. If we expect our end result to work out, whether it’s the situation or ourselves or both, we must be willing to abide by all the factors in the equation.

This is my testimony: that God is aware and understands. We may not know much, but thankfully He does. During the times when it seems everything will fall apart, when nothing seems real, when we’re not sure what to do or what to believe… be still… and know that God is there and can do all things.

Countless times in my life I have felt abandoned and unsure of what I believe… or if I should believe anything. My faith in God and Jesus Christ and my testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been tested many times. And many times I found myself with no answers to my questions, no way to solve my doubts and fears. Does God really exist? Is Jesus Christ really my Savior? Is this church I’m involved in even true? Was Joseph Smith a prophet or just a crazy guy? Is the Book of Mormon true or just a hoax? Is the Bible even true?

Many times I would find answers, and many times I was left with nothing. It was those times, when left to wonder, that I had to exercise my faith, be still, and trust that God was there. I received comfort, and I know that it was the peaceful assurance of the Holy Ghost. I still didn’t have all my answers, but it was okay.

I testify that God is there. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and I know that it was translated by Joseph Smith through the gift and power of God. I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Jesus Christ’s church restored again to the earth. And all these things I am blessed to know because of the Lord’s counsel: “Be still and know that I am God.”

The Book of Mormon

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. It holds the entire doctrine of the Church together. If the Book of Mormon is not true, then Joseph Smith was a fraud, our claim to priesthood authority is void, and the Church in its entirety is perhaps the greatest hoax ever conceived.

However, if the Book of Mormon is true, then Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet of God. If the Book of Mormon is true, then The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ’s true church restored to the Earth, containing the fullness of Jesus Christ’s gospel. If the Book of Mormon is true, then the message it contains is the single most important thing that anyone could read or know in his or her life.

So how does one come about knowing if it’s true or not? Certainly God does not expect us to believe something just because someone has told us to. The only way to know if the Book of Mormon is true is to read it, ponder about what it contains, and pray to God in the name of Jesus Christ and ask Him if the book is true

Moroni, the last prophet in the Book of Mormon and last person to write in the ancient record itself, gives us a promise. It’s found in the last book of the Book of Mormon: Moroni, chapter 10, verses 4 and 5,

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.

And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

The Spirit is the only way to know if the Book of Mormon is true. He testifies of truth and will lead us to it. We simply need to ask God with 1) a sincere heart, meaning that we truly want to know if the book is true, 2) real intent, meaning that we are willing to act upon our answer, that we will do something when the Holy Ghost testifies of the Book of Mormon’s divinity, and 3) having faith in Christ, meaning that we do this with the desire of coming closer to Jesus Christ and wanting to know if it is truly His gospel.

I have done this myself. I have read, pondered, and prayed about the Book of Mormon to know if it is true, and I testify to you that I have received my answer from my Heavenly Father, by the power of the Holy Ghost. I know the Book of Mormon is true, and that it is the word of God.

I challenge you, if you have not done so, to read the Book of Mormon and pray to your Heavenly Father to know if it is true. You need not read the entire book itself. How many people believe in the Bible and yet have not read it completely? The Spirit can manifest all truth, no matter how great or small. The truth can be made known to you if you are sincere in seeking in, with the intent of coming closer to Jesus Christ.

I will not leave you comfortless.

John 14: 16-18

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. His divine role in our lives is to strengthen, comfort, guide, teach, warn us of danger, and testify of truth. Christ explained to His apostles that when He (Christ) left, the Father would send the Spirit to be their Comforter in His place to give peace and teach them.

26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Just like our Father in Heaven, and just like our Savior Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost is a person, a being, with a personality. He loves us and wants to help us in any way He can. He has played an enormous role in my own life, guiding me countless times by warning me of dangers and prompting me in specific directions.

However, we must be in the correct state of mind and heart in order to receive the Spirit’s guidance. In 1 Kings chapter 19, we learn how the Spirit will often communicate with us from one of the prophet Elijah’s experiences.

11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:

12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

Amidst the tumult of noise, the Spirit spoke to Elijah in a still small voice. The same applies to us. If our minds are racing with thoughts, if our hearts are raging with unrighteous motives and desires, we will be deaf to the subtle whisperings of the Holy Ghost. It takes an earnest, concentrated effort on our part to receive His instruction.

Turn off the radio. Turn off the television. Remove yourself from the world’s distractions. Find time to meditate, to read and ponder the scriptures. Find time to connect with the Spirit.

I testify that the Holy Ghost can teach us all things. I testify that He can give us the strength and peace we need to withstand all that the world may throw at us. I testify that the Holy Ghost loves us, and I know that He speaks to us. Are we willing to take a moment to listen?