Chapter 8 The Holy Ghost

Article 4 -- We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: * * * fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Ghost Promised -- John the Baptist, proclaiming in the wilderness repentance and baptism by water, foretold a second and higher baptism, which he characterized as being of fire and the Holy Ghost; this was to follow his administration, FN and was to be given by that Mightier One the latchet of whose shoes the Baptist considered himself unworthy to unloose. That the holder of this superior authority was none other than the Christ is proved by John's solemn record: "Behold the Lamb of God * * * This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me * * * And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost." FN

Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost: While the bestowal of the Holy Ghost is performed by the outward ordinance of the laying on of hands associated with water baptism, the fulfillment of the full extent of that baptism will come only at the time of the Second Coming. True there is the promised continued presence of the Holy Ghost as a constant companion, this is the company and comfort of the Holy Ghost given to a member of the Kingdom of God or the Church. And there is at times the outward manifestation of gloven tongue of 'fire' which have been noted to attend the presence of the Holy Ghost upon a person; this is not the fullest extent of the Baptism of Fire but an outward manifestation of the presence of the spirit which in not granted upon all people. Most will received of the enfluence of the Holy Ghost line upon line and precept upon precept as the Spirit of Revelation reveals the principles and laws of the gospel to a person as they are ready and have so advanced themselves to receive them. The actual baptism of 'fire' will be ministered to those who are worthy of it at the time of the Second Coming upon the members of the Kingdom of God which are to be received up and into the Kingdom of Heaven. Christ will come with the cleansing and sacntifying power of the actual fire and Holy Ghost. To the wicked the 'Fire' will burn them as stubble and they will be depossed unto the spirit world in the realm of spirit prison. Unto the righteous that fire will be that of sanctification and 'twinkling' whereby they will be elevated both spiritually and actually physically up to the level of Jesus Chirst to meet him as he does descend upon the earth bring with him the Kingdom of Heaven. This Baptism of Fire associated with the Holy Ghost will be upon the face of the whole earth just as the Baptism of Water did cover the earth at the time of Noah. There will be on escaping it. While the just and honorable men of the earth will also be so preserved into the Millennium, we do not have a complete understanding as to this Baptism of Fire upon the earth, only to that extent that it applies to us as members of the Kingdom if we stand in righteousness or are found numbered among the wicked due to our sins or unrighteousness. That is to say, mere membership in the Church is no guarantee that one will not be burned as stubble. And while we are told that 'tithing' is a type of 'fire insurrance', even that payment must be done in righteousness of intent, as it did not work unto the salvation of the Jews of hypocracy in the time of Jesus. Only the righteously paid tithes will be honored as was the widow' mite.

In declaring to Nicodemus FN the necessity of baptism, the Savior did not stop with a reference to the watery birth alone, that being incomplete without the quickening influence of the Spirit. "Born of water and of the Spirit" is the necessary condition of him who is to gain admittance to the kingdom of God. Many of the scriptural passages quoted in demonstration of the purpose and necessity of baptism show baptism of the Holy Ghost to be closely associated with the prescribed ordinance of immersion in water.

Christ's instructions to the apostles comprise repeated promises concerning the coming of the Comforter, and the Spirit of Truth, FN by which expressive terms the Holy Ghost is designated. In His last interview with the apostles, at the close of which He ascended into heaven, the Lord repeated these assurances of a spiritual baptism, which was then soon to take place. FN The fulfilment of this great prediction was realized at the succeeding Pentecost, when the apostles, having assembled together, were endowed with great power from heaven, FN they being filled with the Holy Ghost so that they spoke in tongues other than their own as the Spirit gave them utterance. Among other manifestations of this spiritual endowment may be mentioned the appearance of flames of fire like unto tongues, which rested upon each of them. The promise so miraculously fulfilled upon themselves was repeated by the apostles to those who sought their instruction. Peter, addressing the Jews on that same day, declared, on the condition of their acceptable repentance and baptism, "Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." FN

Book of Mormon evidence is not less conclusive regarding the Holy Spirit's visitation unto those who obey the requirements of water baptism. Nephi, Lehi's son, bore solemn record of this truth FN as made known to him by the voice of God. And the words of the resurrected Savior to the Nephites come in plainness indisputable, and with authority not to be questioned, proclaiming the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost unto all those who obey the preliminary requirements. FN

Unto the saints in the dispensation of the fulness of times, the same great promise has been made. "I say unto you again," spake the Lord in addressing certain elders of the Church, "that every soul who believeth on your words, and is baptized by water for the remission of sins, shall receive the Holy Ghost." FN

Personality and Powers of the Holy Ghost -- The Holy Ghost is associated with the Father and the Son in the Godhead. In the light of revelation, we are instructed as to the distinct personality of the Holy Ghost. He is a being endowed with the attributes and powers of Deity, and not a mere force, or essence. The term Holy Ghost and its common synonyms, Spirit of God, FN Spirit of the Lord, or simply, Spirit, FN Comforter, FN and Spirit of Truth, FN occur in the scriptures with plainly different meanings, referring in some cases to the person of God the Holy Ghost, and in other instances to the power or authority of this great Personage, or to the agencies through which He ministers. The context of such passages show which of these significations applies.

The Holy Ghost undoubtedly possesses personal powers and affections; these attributes exist in Him in perfection. Thus, He teaches and guides, FN testifies of the Father and the Son, FN reproves for sin, FN speaks, commands, and commissions, FN makes intercession for sinners, FN is grieved, FN searches and investigates, FN entices, FN and knows all things. FN These are not figurative expressions, but plain statements of the attributes and characteristics of the Holy Ghost. That the Spirit of the Lord is capable of manifesting Himself in the form and figure of man, is indicated by the wonderful interview between the Spirit and Nephi, in which He revealed Himself to the prophet, questioned him concerning his desires and belief, instructed him in the things of God, speaking face to face with the man. "I spake unto him," says Nephi,"as a man speaketh; for I beheld that he was in the form of a man; yet nevertheless, I knew that it was the Spirit of the Lord; and he spake unto me as a man speaketh with another." FN However, the Holy Ghost does not possess a body of flesh and bones, as do both the Father and the Son, but is a personage of spirit. FN

Much of the confusion existing in human conceptions concerning the nature of the Holy Ghost arises from the common failure to segregate His person and powers. Plainly, such expressions as being filled with the Holy Ghost, FN and His falling upon persons, having reference to the powers and influences that emanate from God, and which are characteristic of Him; for the Holy Ghost may in this way operate simultaneously upon many persons even though they be widely separated, whereas the actual person of the Holy Ghost cannot be in more than one place at a time. Yet we read that through the power of the Spirit, the Father and the Son operate in their creative acts and in their general dealings with the human family. FN The Holy Ghost may be regarded as the minister of the Godhead, carrying into effect the decision of the Supreme Council.

In the execution of these great purposes, the Holy Ghost directs and controls the varied forces of nature, of which indeed a few, and these perhaps of minor order wonderful as even the least of them appears to man, have thus far been investigated by mortals. Gravitation, sound, heat, light, and the still more mysterious and seemingly super-natural power of electricity, are but the common servants of the Holy Ghost in His operations. No earnest thinker, no sincere investigator supposes that he has yet learned of all the forces existing in and operating upon matter; indeed, the observed phenomena of nature, yet wholly inexplicable to him, far outnumber those for which he has devised even a partial explanation. There are powers and forces at the command of God, compared with which electricity is as the pack-horse to the locomotive, the foot messenger to the telegraph, the raft of logs to the ocean steamer. With all his scientific knowledge man knows but little respecting the enginery of creation; and yet the few forces known to him have brought about miracles and wonders, which but for their actual realization would be beyond belief. These mighty agencies, and the mightier ones still to man unknown, and many, perhaps, to the present condition of the human mind unknowable, do not constitute the Holy Ghost, but are the agencies ordained to serve His purposes.

Subtler, mightier, and more mysterious than any or all of the physical forces of nature are the powers that operate upon conscious organisms, the means by which the mind, the heart, the soul of man may be energized by spiritual forces. In our ignorance of the true nature of electricity we may speak of it as a fluid; and so by analogy the forces through which the mind is governed have been called spiritual fluids. The true nature of these manifestations of energy is unknown to us, for the elements of comparison and analogy, so necessary to our human reasoning, are wanting; nevertheless the effects are experienced by all. As the conducting medium in an electric circuit is capable of conveying but a limited current, the maximum capacity depending upon the resistance offered by the conductor, and, as separate circuits of different degrees of conductivity may carry currents of widely varying intensity, so human souls are of varied capacity with respect to the higher powers. But as the medium is purified, as obstructions are removed, so resistance to the energy decreases, and the forces manifest themselves with greater intensity. By analogous processes of purification our spirits may be made more susceptible to the forces of life, which are emanations from the Holy Spirit. Therefore are we taught to pray by word and action for a constantly increasing portion of the Spirit, that is, the power of the Spirit, which is a measure of this gift of God unto us.

The Office of the Holy Ghost in His ministrations among men is described in scripture. He is a teacher sent from the Father; FN and unto those who are entitled to His tuition He will reveal all things necessary for the soul's advancement. Through the influences of the Holy Spirit the powers of the human mind may be quickened and increased, so that things past may be brought to remembrance. He will serve as a guide in things divine unto all who will obey Him, FN enlightening every man, FN in the measure of his humility and obedience; FN unfolding the mysteries of God, FN as the knowledge thus revealed may effect greater spiritual growth; conveying knowledge from God to man; FN sanctifying those who have been cleansed through obedience to the requirements of the Gospel; FN manifesting all things; FN and bearing witness unto men concerning the existence and infallibility of the Father and the Son. FN

Not alone does the Holy Ghost bring to mind the past and explain the things of the present, but His power is manifested in prophecy concerning the future. "He will shew you things to come," declared the Savior to the apostles in promising the advent of the Comforter. Adam, the first prophet of earth, under the influence of the Holy Ghost "predicted whatsoever should befall his posterity unto the latest generation." FN The power of the Holy Ghost then, is the spirit of prophecy and revelation; His office is that of enlightenment of the mind, quickening of the intellect, and sanctification of the soul.

To Whom is the Holy Spirit Given? Not to all indiscriminately. Jesus Christ declared to the apostles of old: "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him." FN Clearly, then, a certain condition of the candidate is requisite before the Holy Spirit can be bestowed, that is to say, before the person can receive title to the companionship and ministrations of the Holy Ghost. God grants the gift of the Holy Ghost unto the obedient, and the bestowal of this gift follows faith, repentance, and baptism by water.

The apostles of old promised the ministration of the Holy Ghost unto those only who had received baptism by water for the remission of sins; FN John the Baptist gave assurances of the visitation of the Holy Ghost to those only who were baptized unto repentance. FN The instance of Paul's rebaptizing the twelve converts at Ephesus before he conferred upon them the Holy Ghost, on account of a probable lack of propriety or authority in their first baptism, FN has already been dwelt upon. We read of a remarkable manifestation of power among the people of Samaria, FN to whom Philip went and preached the Lord Jesus; the people with one accord accepted his testimony and sought baptism. Then came unto them Peter and John, through whose ministrations the Holy Ghost came upon the new converts, whereas upon none of them had the Spirit previously fallen, though all had been baptized.

The Holy Spirit dwells not in tabernacles unfit and unworthy. Paul makes the sublime declaration that man may become the temple of God, with the Spirit of God dwelling within him; and the apostle specifies the penalty prescribed for defiling a structure sanctified by so holy a presence. FN Faith in God leads to repentance of sin; this is followed by baptism in water for the remission of sins, and this in turn by the bestowal of the Holy Spirit, or the right and title to the personal association and inspiring ministration of the Holy Ghost, through whose power come sanctification and the specific gifts of God.

An Exception to this Sequence is shown in the case of the devout Gentile, Cornelius, unto whom, together with his family, came the Holy Ghost, with such power that they spake with new tongues to the glorification of God, and this before their baptism. FN But sufficient reason for this departure from the usual order is seen in the prejudice that existed among the Jews toward other nations, which, but for the Lord's direct instructions to Peter, would have hindered the apostle from ministering unto the Gentiles. As it was, his act was condemned by his own people; but he answered their criticisms with a recital of the lesson given him of God, and the undeniable evidence of the divine will as shown in the reception of the Holy Ghost by Cornelius and his family before baptism.

In another sense the Holy Ghost has frequently operated for good through persons that were unbaptized; indeed, some measure of His power is given to all mankind; for, as seen already, the Holy Spirit is the medium of intelligence, of wise direction, of development, of life. Manifestation of the power of God, as made plain through the operations of the Spirit, are seen in the triumphs of ennobling art, the discoveries of science, and the events of history; with all of which the carnal mind may believe that God takes no direct concern. Not a truth has ever been made the property of humankind except through the power of that great Spirit who exists to do the bidding of the Father and the Son. And yet the actual companionship of the Holy Ghost, the divinely-bestowed right to His ministrations, the sanctifying baptism with fire, are given as a permanent and personal possession only to the faithful, repentant, baptized candidate for salvation; and with all such this gift shall abide unless it be forfeited through transgression.

The Bestowal of the Holy Ghost, which is to be regarded as a conferred right to His ministrations, is effected through the ordinance of an oral blessing pronounced upon the candidate by the specified authority of the Holy Priesthood, accompanied by the imposition of the hands of him or those officiating. That this was the mode followed by the apostles of old is evident from the Jewish scriptures; that it was practised by the early Christian Fathers is shown by history; that it was the acknowledged method among the Nephites is plainly attested by Book of Mormon record; and for the same practise in the present dispensation authority has come direct from heaven.

Among the instances recorded in the New Testament we may mention the following. Peter and John conferred the Holy Ghost upon Philip's converts at Samaria, and the ordinance was performed by prayer and the laying on of hands. FN Paul ministered in the same manner to the Ephesians whom he had caused to be baptized; and when he "had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied." FN Paul also refers to this ordinance in his admonition to Timothy not to neglect the gift of God so bestowed. FN Furthermore we learn from the epistle to the Hebrews that the cardinal principles and ordinances of the Church of Christ include the laying on of hands as following baptism. FN

Alma so invoked the power of the Holy Ghost in behalf of his colaborers: FN "He clapped his hands upon all them who were with him. And behold, as he clapped his hands upon them, they were filled with the Holy Spirit." The Savior gave authority to the twelve Nephite disciples, FN by touching them one by one; they were thus commissioned to bestow the Holy Ghost.

In the current dispensation it has been made a duty of the Priesthood "to confirm those who are baptized into the church, by the laying on of hands for the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost." FN The Lord has promised that the Holy Ghost shall follow these authoritative acts of His servants. FN The ordinance of laying on of hands for the bestowal of the Holy Ghost is associated with that of confirmation into the Church. The officiating elder, acting in the name and by the authority of Jesus Christ, says: "Receive the Holy Ghost;" and "I confirm you a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." Even these words are not prescribed, but their meaning should be expressed; and to such may be added other words of blessing and invocation as the Spirit of the Lord may dictate to the officiating elder.

The authority to so bestow the Holy Ghost belongs to the higher or Melchizedek Priesthood, FN whereas water baptism may be administered by a priest officiating in the ordinances of the lesser or Aaronic Priesthood. FN This order of authority, as made known through revelation, explains that while Philip had authority to administer the ordinance of baptism to the converted Samaritans, others who held the higher Priesthood had to be sent to confer upon them the Holy Ghost. FN

Gifts of the Spirit -- As already pointed out, the special office of the Holy Ghost is to enlighten and ennoble the mind, to purify and sanctify the soul, to incite to good works, and to reveal the things of God. But, beside these general blessings, there are certain specific endowments promised in connection with the gifts of the Holy Ghost. The Savior said: "These signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." FN

These gifts of the Spirit are distributed in the wisdom of God for the salvation of His children. Paul thus discourses upon them: "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. * * * Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. * * * But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kind of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will." FN


The Holy Ghost One of the Personages in the Godhead

Baptism in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost -- Matt. 28:19; 3 Nephi 11:25; D&C 20:73; 68:8.

Three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost -- 1 John 5:7.

Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost not to be forgiven -- Matt. 12:31, 32; also D&C 132:27.

Voice of the Son declaring that the Father will give the Holy Ghost -- 2 Nephi 31:12; see also verse 13.

Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, one God -- D&C 20:28.

The Holy Ghost a personage of Spirit -- D&C 130:22.

Holy Ghost Promised and Given to the Apostles

It is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost -- Mark 13:11; see also Matt. 10:19, 20; Luke 21:14, 15.

For the Holy Ghost shall teach you In the same hour what ye ought to say -- Luke 12:11, 12.

The resurrected Lord to the eleven apostles: Receive ye the Holy Ghost -- John 20:22.

Concerning the Lord's promise of the Comforter then to come -- John 14:16, 17, 26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:5, 8.

Peter and others filled with the Holy Ghost spake the word of God with boldness -- Acts 4:31.

Apostles endowed by the Holy Ghost at the Pentecost -- Acts 2:1-4.

Preached with boldness being filled with the Holy Ghost -- Acts 4:31; see also 5:12, 32; 7:51.

Ministry of the Holy Ghost Following water Baptism

Descended in bodily shape upon Jesus Christ after baptism -- Luke 3:22; see also Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:9-11; compare John 1:32, 33; 1 Nephi 11:27.

I indeed have baptized you with water, but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost -- Mark 1:8; see also Acts 1:5; 11:16; 19:5, 6.

After repentance and baptism: Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost -- Acts 2:38.

About twelve were baptized at Ephesus, and when Paul laid his hands upon them the Holy Ghost came on them -- Acts 19:1-7.

The Father to give the Holy Ghost to those who are baptized -- 2 Nephi 31:12; see also 31:13; 3 Nephi 11:33-36.

Whoso repents and is baptized according to the holy commandment shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost -- D&C 49:12-14; see also 33:15.

Remission of sins by baptism and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost -- D&C 19:31.

Noah promised the Holy Ghost after faith, repentance and baptism -- Moses 8:24.

Holy Ghost Invoked by Authorized Laying on of Hands

Peter and John laid their hands upon Samaritan converts and they received the Holy Ghost -- Acts 8:14-17. Note that while Philip had authority to preach and baptize, men holding the higher authority were sent to confer the Holy Ghost upon the converts in Samaria. Here appears the distinction between the authority of the lesser or Aaronic and the higher or Melchizedek Priesthood.

Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands -- Heb. 6:2.

The resurrected Christ by physical touch commissioned the Nephite disciples to confer the Holy Ghost -- 3 Nephi 18:36, 37. To him upon whom ye shall lay your hands ye shall give the Holy Ghost -- Moroni, chap. 2.

He shall lay his hands upon thee, and thou shalt receive the Holy Ghost -- D&C 25:8.

Gift of the Holy Ghost given to the baptized, by the laying on of the hands of the elders -- D&C 49:14.

Promise of gift of the Holy Ghost to follow confirmation by laying on of hands -- D&C 33:15.

Some of the Attributes and Operations of the Holy Ghost

The Holy Ghost shall teach you -- Luke 12:12.

The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, shall teach you -- John 14:26; see also John 16:7-15.

Christ through the Holy Ghost gave commandments unto the apostles -- Acts 1:2.

Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost has come upon you -- Acts 1:8.

The Holy Ghost a witness of the Christ -- Acts 5:32; Heb. 10:15; 1 Nephi 12:18; 3 Nephi 28:11.

Directs the work of the ministry -- Acts 13:2-4; 16:6.

Disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Ghost -- Acts 13:52.

Thus saith the Holy Ghost -- Acts 21:11.

The Holy Ghost spake through Esaias the prophet -- Acts 28:25.

Being sanctified by the Holy Ghost -- Rom. 15:16.

Things which the Holy Ghost teacheth -- 1 Cor. 2:13.

No man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost -- 1 Cor. 12:3. Knowledge, longsuffering, kindness, by the Holy Ghost -- 2 Cor. 6:6. God bearing witness with gifts of the Holy Ghost -- Heb. 2:4.

Holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost -- 2 Peter 1:21. Elders today to speak as moved upon by the Holy Ghost -- D&C 68:3.

To minister unto the Gentiles -- 3 Nephi 20:27.

Is the spirit of revelation -- D&C 8:2, 3.

Teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom -- D&C 39:6. Prophets spake as they were inspired by the Holy Ghost -- D&C 20:26. Beareth record of the Father and the Son -- D&C 20:27; Moses 1:24; 5:9. Officers to be ordained by power of the Holy Ghost -- D&C 20:60. Inspires ordained men to speak scripture -- D&C 68:4. Knowledge given by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost -- D&C 121:26; see also 124:5.

Bore witness to Adam -- Moses 5:9.

The Lord called upon men by the Holy Ghost in days of Adam -- Moses 5:14. Holy Ghost manifested His power upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery following their baptism -- P. of G.P. p. 58.