The Relief Society Declaration challenges women to strengthen their faith and commitment to our Savior, Jesus Christ. One way to do that is to, “Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.”
The Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead whose primary purposes are to testify of the divinity and mission of Jesus Christ, witness of truth, and provide comfort and direction in our personal lives. The Holy Ghost often gives thoughts of truth or surety to our minds and hearts, feelings of peace and comfort, or flashes of insight or warning. Some describe the Holy Ghost as feeling blanketed in love. Others feel sudden surge of inspiration and happiness. The Lord promises that He will speak to all who seek through the Holy Ghost, but the method may differ for each person.
Through Jesus’ Atonement, the Holy Ghost can provide hope our lives. As our faith & knowledge of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and our purposes in life expand, the Holy Ghost fills our hearts with hope.
One of my favorite scriptures stories is in 2 Kings 6. The king of Syria decided to war against Israel. Every time he strategized to attack Israel, the prophet Elisha alerted the King of Israel to avoid that location. The king of Syria thought he had a spy in his leadership and demanded to know which one of his servants was the traitor. One of his men told him about Elisha the prophet. They found out Elisha was in Dothan, and the king sent
…horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about. And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha (2 Kings 6:14-17).
The servant’s eyes were opened so he could see clearly and have hope in a physical salvation.
The Holy Ghost provides similar vision for us.
What has the Holy Ghost enabled you to see?
Following the Promptings of the Holy Ghost
The Holy Ghost enables me to see the hand of God in my life.
When I lived in Texas, I became an assistant to the gilder in the Lubbock Texas Temple. I loved that opportunity. I have since moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, and woke one night with distinct instructions to approach the recorder at the Salt Lake Temple to offer my assistance with gold leafing during the temple’s semi-annual closure for cleaning and remodeling. I thought I would be helping a crew of gilders, but found out later that a temple gilder had retired just before I offered my services, and I would basically be gilding by myself since the other gilder was working on special projects. During my second day of gilding, I had the profound impression to call my friend from Lubbock. So, I called and asked if she’d want to drive up from Texas to help for a few days. She was actually in Utah visiting grandchildren! She was scheduled to fly home the next day, but pushed her flight out for a week and gilded for 3 days with me in the temple.
Those experiences witnessed again to me that the Lord not only knows us, but knows our very location and the things that will bless our lives. Promptings from the Holy Ghost which become miracles like this strengthen my faith in a living, loving Heavenly Father who knows my needs and answers my prayers.
One of the first experiences I recall having with the Holy Ghost was the year I turned 8. My grandma invited her grandkids to read the Book of Mormon, promising that she would give us $5 when we completed it. I had read the book several times through with my family, but had never read it on my own. I finally finished reading the Book of Mormon towards the end of the year and happily received my $5.
Soon after that, my Primary teacher (my Sunday children’s class teacher) gave a lesson about the Book of Mormon. We read Moroni’s challenge in Moroni 10:4
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.
All of my class members had been baptized by that point, and she challenged us to pray to know for ourselves if the Book of Mormon was true by the power of the Holy Ghost. After church, I went to my room and prayed to know if the book was true. I waited for what seemed like forever, but I kept waiting, expecting an answer. Finally, I felt the words in my mind, “Delisa, you already know the Book of Mormon is true.”
Every time I have faced opposition to my testimony of the Book of Mormon, that scene flashes to mind. “Delisa, you know the Book of Mormon is true.” I do know it is true. I gained strength from that witness of the Holy Ghost.
The Holy Ghost Teaches and Testifies of Jesus Christ
I sat riveted to Elder Bruce R McConkie’s April 1985 General Conference talk. I was 13 years old. I felt like he spoke directly to me. The Holy Ghost carried his words to my heart with power. Elder McConkie’s conviction impacted my conviction of the Savior.
Now, the atonement of Christ is the most basic and fundamental doctrine of the gospel, and it is the least understood of all our revealed truths.
Many of us have a superficial knowledge and rely upon the Lord and his goodness to see us through the trials and perils of life.
But if we are to have faith like Enoch and Elijah we must believe what they believed, know what they knew, and live as they lived.
May I invite you to join with me in gaining a sound and sure knowledge of the Atonement.
We must cast aside the philosophies of men and the wisdom of the wise and hearken to that Spirit which is given to us to guide us into all truth.
We must search the scriptures, accepting them as the mind and will and voice of the Lord and the very power of God unto salvation.
As pertaining to Jesus Christ, I testify that he is the Son of the Living God and was crucified for the sins of the world. He is our Lord, our God, and our King.
I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears.
But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way.
I felt the power in Elder McConkie’s words confirmed by the Holy Ghost in my own heart. As I listened to him testifying of Jesus Christ, I knew that Jesus Christ lived, died, and was resurrected. The Holy Ghost strengthened my witness of Jesus as I listened to Elder McConkie.
The Holy Ghost Acts as a Cleansing agent, Purifying Us From Sin
Two scripture stories teach me how this can happen the Holy Ghost purifies us.
Naaman, captain of the Syrian host, was a leper. His wife’s maid told him about Elisha the prophet. He went to Elisha’s home and stood at the door. Elisha did not go out to him, but sent a messenger to speak to Naaman.
And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.
And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean? Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean (2 Kings 5:10-14).
Naaman returned to Elisha’s house and testified that he then knew there was a God in Israel.
Naaman did not receive a heavenly manifestation. In fact, the prophet didn’t even speak to him directly. This seems a common way for our hope to begin. We hear of truth. We seek it to some extent. We receive messages of prophetic truth.
How do you react? Is the principle beneath you? Is tithing a true principle? Does fasting really work? Will Heavenly Father answer your prayers? You choose to accept the principle or not. When you act on those messages or promptings, you then gain the witness for yourself through the Holy Ghost.
As we keep the commandments, the Holy Ghost then purifies us, until like Naaman, we are cleansed from our spiritual leprosy.
The other story is of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. King Nebuchadnezzar built a huge golden image of himself and then commanded everyone to bow down and worship it. Some jealous people told the king that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not bowing down to the image. King Nebuchadnezzar called for them and demanded an explanation.
They boldly declared,
Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up (Daniel 3:17-18).
The king of course, was furious, and commanded them to be thrown into an extra hot fiery furnace, which killed some of his own servants as they prepared to throw in the three Israelites.
Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God (Daniel 3:24-25).
The testimony Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego received from the Holy Ghost, enabled them to stand in the face of fiery trials. Their bands were loosed and they walked with the Lord.
Your personal fiery furnaces can either destroy you like Nebuchadnezzar’s servants, or purify you like Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego.
The Holy Ghost began unloosing the bands of Book of Mormon King Lamoni’s father through the missionary Ammon’s strong testimony and love. Then, as King Lamoni’s father listened to the plan of salvation shared by Ammon’s brother Aaron, the power of the Holy Ghost gave him hope to pray in faith.
O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day (Alma 22:18).
I know that there is a God and He will make Himself known unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost.
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 (John 14:26).
Experiences with hearing and heeding the promptings of the Holy Ghost bring spiritual strength.
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost (Romans 15:13).