- The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead; He is a personage of spirit and bears witness of all truth. In the scriptures the Holy Ghost is referred to as the Comforter, a teacher, and a revelator.
- Revelations from the Father and the Son are conveyed through the Holy Ghost. He is the messenger for and the witness of the Father and the Son.
- The Holy Ghost is manifested to men and women on the earth both as the power and as the gift of the Holy Ghost. The power can come upon a person before baptism; it is the convincing witness that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Through the power of the Holy Ghost, sincere investigators can acquire a conviction of the truthfulness of the Savior’s gospel, of the Book of Mormon, of the reality of the Restoration, and of the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith.
- The gift of the Holy Ghost is bestowed only after proper and authorized baptism and by the laying on of hands by those holding the Melchizedek Priesthood.
He speaks of how the Gift of the Holy Ghost is given through the laying on of hands after baptism. An authorized priesthood holder lays his hands on the person's head and after stating their name, and the authority by which they perform the ordinance, tell the person to "receive the Holy Ghost." Of these words he says:
- The simplicity of this ordinance may cause us to overlook its significance. These four words— “Receive the Holy Ghost”—are not a passive pronouncement; rather, they constitute a priesthood injunction—an authoritative admonition to act and not simply to be acted upon. The Holy Ghost does not become operative in our lives merely because hands are placed upon our heads and those four important words are spoken. As we receive this ordinance, each of us accepts a sacred and ongoing responsibility to desire, to seek, to work, and to so live that we indeed “receive the Holy Ghost” and its attendant spiritual gifts.
Elder Bednar then outlines three things that we need to do to make the companionship of the Holy Ghost a reality.
- What should we do to make this authorized admonition to seek for the companionship of the third member of the Godhead an ongoing reality? Let me suggest that we need to (1) sincerely desire to receive the Holy Ghost, (2) appropriately invite the Holy Ghost into our lives, and (3) faithfully obey God’s commandments.
- We first should desire, yearn for, and seek the companionship of the Holy Ghost.
He then asks a couple questions to help us evaluate our lives.
- Do we... remember to pray earnestly and consistently for that which we should most desire, even the Holy Ghost? Or do we become distracted by the cares of the world and the routine of daily living and take for granted or even neglect this most valuable of all gifts? Receiving the Holy Ghost starts with our sincere and constant desire for His companionship in our lives.
- We cannot compel, coerce, or command the Holy Ghost. Rather, we should invite Him into our lives with the same gentleness and tenderness by which He entreats us. Our invitations for the companionship of the Holy Ghost occur in many ways: through the making and keeping of covenants; by praying sincerely as individuals and families; by searching the scriptures diligently; through strengthening appropriate relationships with family members and friends; by seeking after virtuous thoughts, actions, and language; and by worshipping in our homes, in the holy temple, and at church. Conversely, casualness about or the breaking of covenants and commitments, failing to pray and study the scriptures, and inappropriate thoughts, actions, and language cause the Spirit to withdraw from or to avoid us altogether.
- Faithfully obeying God’s commandments is essential to receiving the Holy Ghost. We are reminded of this truth each week as we listen to the sacrament prayers and worthily partake of the bread and water. As we pledge our willingness to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, to always remember Him, and to keep His commandments, we are promised that we may always have His Spirit to be with us. Thus, everything the Savior’s gospel teaches us to do and become is intended to bless us with the companionship of the Holy Ghost.
- Praying, studying, gathering, worshipping, serving, and obeying are not isolated and independent items on a lengthy gospel checklist of things to do. Rather, each of these righteous practices is an important element in an overarching spiritual quest to fulfill the mandate to receive the Holy Ghost.
- All gospel teachings and activities are centered on coming unto Christ by receiving the Holy Ghost in our lives.
Elder Bednar finishes by sharing his testimony of the role of the Holy Ghost in our lives.
- I testify the Holy Ghost is a revelator, a comforter, and the ultimate teacher from whom we should learn. And I witness that the blessings and gifts of the Spirit operate in the restored, in the true, and in the living Church of Jesus Christ in these latter days.
The Gift of the Holy Ghost gives us the chance to have a member of the Godhead present in our lives when we are worthy of it. What a special gift that God and Jesus have given to us. As we live our lives in accordance with Their teachings They provide to us a light, an assurance, and a confirming witness that we are on the right track, that we are making the right decisions in our lives, and that we are making decisions that bring us closer to Them. Although I have many distractions throughout the day, I try to add things to my life that allow me to focus on the ultimate reason for life, which is to learn of Them and return to Them someday. My drive to the office, the music I listen to at work, my drive home as I get ready to interact with my family for the evening, all are moments in my life that I can focus on how to be a good person and lead my family in righteousness. The instruction I can learn from the Holy Ghost in these moments of focusing, the moments I take the world out of my life and focus on the things that are outside this world, are moments that I can feel the love of the Savior and moments that I can find peace and comfort from the Holy Ghost. I would hope we can all find moments throughout our day to spend time with the Holy Ghost and seek the assurance and instruction He provides us.