Living Worthy of the Gift of the Holy Ghost
Brigham Young University–Idaho Devotional
January 29, 2002
A week ago our daughter's best friend was baptized. We have known Sheila since she and Rachel were on the cross country team in middle school. It has been exciting to see her embrace the gospel and make the decision to become a member of the church.
I think she decided she wanted to be married in the temple almost before she decided she wanted to be a member. She saw the examples of great families among her many Latter Day Saint friends, and knew she wanted her future family to have the same blessings. She is a young woman who is wise beyond her years.
Elder Boyd K. Packer said, "In the Church we build...buildings of many kinds. In them we worship, we teach, we find recreation, we organize. We can organize stakes, wards and missions and quorums and Relief Societies in these buildings or even in rented halls. But, when we organize families according to the order that the Lord has revealed, we organize them in the temples. Temple marriage, that sealing ordinance, is a crowning blessing that you may claim in the holy temple."
After Sheila was baptized she received a gift that will be her greatest help in achieving her goal to have a temple marriage. That gift was the privilege to have the Holy Ghost as her constant companion.
In Doctrine and Covenants Section 130: 22 we read, "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's; the Son also: but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us." Sheila has been taught that because the Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead, her thoughts and actions will determine the extent to which the Holy Ghost can dwell with her.
A great Relief Society teacher, Louisa Albrecht, taught the young women in the BYU–Idaho 12th Ward that while we may not think that the movie we are watching, or the music to which we are listening is offensive, we need to ask ourselves if it would be offensive to the Holy Ghost.
We must be careful to avoid the mistakes of the Nephites in Helaman 4:24,
"And they saw that they had become weak, like unto their brethren, the Lamanites, and that the Spirit of the Lord did no more preserve them; yea, it had withdrawn from them because the Spirit of the Lord doth not dwell in unholy temples---"
It is good to constantly monitor our feelings to see if what we are feeling is the love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, and temperance that the apostle Paul taught were the fruits of the Spirit.
Elder David B. Haight and his wife Ruby attended a movie they very much enjoyed some time before their call to serve as Mission President and companion in Scotland. On the voyage home at the completion of their mission, they attended a showing of the same movie. They were shocked to discover that there were things in the movie that were distasteful and offensive to the spirit. What had happened? Sister Haight wondered if those who had made the movie had added these offensive things, but the truth was that the movie had not changed; the change was in Elder and Sister Haight.
This is the way we are schooled by the spirit. As we strive harder to keep the commandments our spirits become more refined, and we find ourselves feeling uncomfortable and ill at ease with what we may have thought was funny or entertaining at an earlier stage of our development.
A word of warning. If we do not heed the promptings of the holy spirit, we will lose its guidance in our lives. King Benjamin taught his people in Mosiah 2:36-37,
"And now, I say unto you, my brethren, that after ye have known and have been taught all these things, if ye should transgress and go contrary to that which has been spoken, that ye do withdraw yourselves from the Spirit of the Lord, that it may have no place in you to guide you in wisdom's paths that ye may be blessed, prospered, and preserved-
I say unto you, that the man that doeth this, the same cometh out in open rebellion against God: therefore he listeth to obey the evil spirit, and becometh an enemy to all righeousness; therefore, the Lord has no place in him, for he dwelleth not in unholy temples."
Every day we make choices that either draw us closer to Heavenly Father, or take us further away. The way we dress, the words we speak, the music to which we listen, the movies or television we choose to watch, the very thoughts we think move us along our chosen path. The Holy Ghost is our teacher to help us know whether our choices are good or evil.
Choosing to draw closer to Heavenly Father brings us untold blessings. King Benjamin further taught his peole, "And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."
This year our course of study in the gospel doctrine class in Sunday School is the Old Testament. I have always found it most surprising that Esau would sell his birthright to his brother Jacob for a mess of pottage. Esau has always looked so foolish and shortsighted to me.
If we liken the scriptures unto us, we might see that mess of pottage as watching an episode of "Friends" on TV. Or trying to copy the immodest styles of some of the idols of our day, the movie and music stars.
My dear young people, I pray that you will be wise that you may receive the promise given in Doctrine and Covenants 45: 57-59
"For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived--verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.
And the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance; and they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation.
For the Lord shall be in their midst, and his glory shall be upon them, and he will be their king and their lawgiver."
I look forward to the day when I may worship at the feet of my Savior and bathe his feet with my tears.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen