I know I’ve been posting a bit more frequently lately, but that’s because I’m going through a lot of new and unexpected experiences that I thought I would share. This week, it’s the surprising lesson of the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
For the past 9+ years, I’ve been operating on the Light of Christ. Well, actually, that’s all I was worthy to have. But what wonderful experiences I’ve had with it. For one, I’m comforted that I was not so far gone, that I was beyond feeling it. Second, it has taught me, guided me, protected me and comforted me. Third, the Light of Christ is no slouch. Quite the contrary, it’s a powerful influence on us IF we allow it to be. So, what is the light of Christ? Here’s one definition form the church’s website:
The Light of Christ is the divine energy, power, or influence that proceeds from God through Christ and gives life and light to all things. The Light of Christ influences people for good and prepares them to receive the Holy Ghost. One manifestation of the Light of Christ is what we call a conscience. (Link)
This light is what gives us our inherent knowledge of good and evil. However, this is not a permanent light, just as the Gift of the Holy Ghost is not a permanent companion. One can ignore it and lead a life that would totally snuff out this light, leaving them with an absence of true moral discipline. Instead, they go with what makes them feel good. And as we all know, there are a whole lot of bad to horrific things that will do that.
Back to my story: So I was under the impression that the Holy Ghost would not be much different than the Light of Christ except I wouldn’t feel empty all the time. I would hang around after church meetings because I knew that as soon as I left the building, that wonderful spirit I was filled with would leave me. Many times I felt the influence of the Holy Ghost witness to me of what is true, but then he would leave me. He would leave me because I didn’t have the Gift of the Holy Ghost. This is one way I knew that my impression or lesson was of God; the empty feeling I got afterwards.
Could it not be the Light of Christ that taught me? Scripturally, I don’t believe it’s so. The Light of Christ is a force that helps us differentiate good and evil. It’s an influence that guides us to do good. It’s the conscience that influences us to act in a positive manner and lets us know when we don’t. The difference is that the Holy Ghost testifies of truth and is a conduit of guidance from our Father in Heaven.
I had many occasions where folks have said in class that “non-members don’t have the Holy Ghost.” I would remind them they do and I would use Moroni 10:4 – 5 to prove it:
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.
He is talking to all who pick up, read and sincerely want to know if the Book of Mormon is true, member or not. By extension, it’s also to know if anything else is true. This is where I was. Relying on the Holy Ghost to let me know what is true. Once he told me, he left.
But the Gift of the Holy Ghost is even more. It is not only to have the Holy Ghost testify of what is true, but to have that holy spirit as a constant companion. He is the third member of the Godhead who works in perfect unity with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ (Link). So to have the constant companion of the Holy Ghost isn’t only about having a good feeling all day. What it is about is what I didn’t know before and I learned afterwards; It’s to have the presence of God with me 24/7 if I stay worthy of it.
When I came home after my baptism, I was filled with the wonderful comfort of the Holy Ghost. And what surprised me what that I felt as though my Father in Heaven was right next to me. Since then, I have continually felt filled, not hollow.
When it comes to the Gift of the Holy Ghost, what I learned is that it’s not about having concourses of angels with trumpets filling my apartment, or to have visions upon visions upon revelations. It’s about having that constant feeling of being close to my Father in Heaven. THAT is what surprised me, THAT is what I learned, THAT is what I now know is more precious to me than all the computers, cars, adulations, anything. Once I felt that, I’ve been trying my best to keep it. I want it, I need it, I crave it and if obedience is the only way to have it, then hey, I’m there. And what I don’t know or am not good at, I’m going to learn. It has become that important to me.