Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Holy Ghost Can Help Us

            A few weeks ago I taught a lesson on this subject to my five-year-old CTR class. We discussed as a class several ways that the Holy Ghost can help us. One of the stories in the lesson was about a young girl who saved the life of her little brother because she listened to a prompting from the Holy Ghost. They were walking along a railroad track when the brother’s foot was caught between the railroad ties. Time was of the essence because the children could see a train coming down the track. The sister tugged and tugged at his foot, but she could not get it loose. Then she said a little prayer and was prompted to unlace the shoe. She did so and was able to pull her brother’s foot out of the shoe. The children were barely off the track before the train was barreling down on them.

            The Holy Ghost can help us in other ways, and I will share some of them after I discuss some of His attributes. First, the Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. His job is to testify of truth and to help in other ways. Second, the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit, meaning that He has a spirit body. Whereas Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have bodies of flesh and bone, the Holy Ghost is a spirit. Third, the Holy Ghost can witness and testify of the truth to anyone, but one must receive the gift of the Holy Ghost in order to have Him as a constant companion. This gift is given by the laying on of hands by those who hold the proper priesthood authority to do so.

            Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke on the topic of “How Does the Holy Ghost Help You?” in his April 2017 General Conference talk. Elder Stevenson shares three ways in which the Holy Ghost can help us: The Holy Ghost warns. The Holy Ghost comforts. The Holy Ghost testifies.

            The Holy Ghost can help us by giving advance warning of spiritual or physical danger. Elder Stevenson shares two experiences to illustrate. When he was a young boy hiking along a trail with his father, he wanted to climb up a big rock. The father suggested that they stay on the trail. When they were up the trail and could long down upon the rock, they could see a huge rattle snake curled up on the top of the rock. When the boy asked the father how he knew that the snake was there, the father was able to teach about the warnings given by the Holy Ghost.

            The second experience shared by Elder Stevenson took place in Japan. A mission president was prompted to invite all the missionaries of a certain zone to a meeting that would normally be held for just the leaders.

However, setting convention aside in order to follow the prompting he had received, he invited all missionaries serving in several coastal cities, including the city of Fukushima, to the meeting. On the appointed day, March 11, 2011, the missionaries gathered together for the expanded mission meeting in the inland city of Koriyama.

During this meeting a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck the region of Japan where the Japan Sendai Mission is located. Tragically, many coastal cities – including those from which the missionaries had been gathered – were devastated and suffered great loss of life. And the city of Fukushima suffered a subsequent nuclear event.

Although the meetinghouse where the missionaries were meeting that day was damaged by the earthquake, through following the promptings of the Holy Ghost, President and Sister Tateoka and all missionaries were safely assembled. They were out of harm’s way and miles from the devastation of the tsunami and the nuclear fallout.

            The Holy Ghost can comfort us when events in our lives bring “sadness, pain, and disappointment.” Jesus Christ promised that the Father would send the Comforter to help us through the trials of mortality, and this Comforter is the Holy Ghost. Elder Stevenson illustrates this attribute with the story of the death of Fernando’s young wife Bayley and their unborn baby.

Yet as deep as was Fernando’s pain, as well as that of Bayley’s parents and siblings, so too was the depth of contrasting peace and comfort that distilled upon them almost immediately. The Holy Ghost in His role as Comforter truly sustained Fernando through this incomprehensible affliction. The Spirit communicated an abiding peace that led Fernando to an attitude of forgiveness and love toward everyone involved in the tragic crash.

            The Holy Ghost bears witness of the Father and the Son and testifies of all truth. Elder Stevenson continues the story of Fernando and Bayley to illustrate this role of the Holy Ghost.
When Fernando and his brother were baptized as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, their parents and three younger brothers were not. They declined “numerous invitations to meet with the missionaries over the years.”

Upon the painful passing of Bayley and her baby daughter, Fernando’s family was inconsolable. Unlike Fernando and unlike Bayley’s family, they found no comfort or peace. They could not understand how their own son, along with Bayley’s family, could bear their heavy burden.

Eventually, they concluded that what their son possessed and they did not was the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and this must be his source of peace and comfort. Following this realization, they invited the missionaries to teach their family the gospel. As a result, they received their own witness and testimony of the great plan of happiness, which brought them the sweet peace and calming comfort they were desperately seeking.

Two months after the loss of Bayley and their unborn granddaughter, Fernando’s parents as well as two of his younger brothers were baptized and confirmed and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. Fernando’s youngest brother looks forward to his baptism when he turns eight. They each testify that the Spirit, the Holy Ghost, bore witness of the truthfulness of the gospel, leading them to a desire to be baptized and to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

            In summary, the Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead, a personage of spirit, and testifies of the Father, the Son, and all truth. He helps us by warning us of spiritual and physical dangers, comforts us at times of distress, and testifies of the truth.

            I join with Elder Stevenson in stating that I know these teachings to be true. I also know of the warnings, comfort, and witnesses for myself. I encourage you to invite the missionaries into your home and let them teach you about how the Holy Ghost can help you in your life.

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