That Spirit Which Leadeth to Do Good
August 1998

“That Spirit Which Leadeth to Do Good,” Ensign, Aug. 1998, 64

The Visiting Teacher:

“That Spirit Which Leadeth to Do Good”

Sometime after the Prophet Joseph Smith’s death, President Brigham Young told of a dream in which the Prophet Joseph visited and instructed him: “Tell the people to be humble and faithful, and be sure to keep the spirit of the Lord and it will lead them right. Be careful and not turn away the small still voice; it will teach them what to do and where to go; it will yield the fruits of the Kingdom” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young [1997], 41).

Wherever we are in our individual life journeys, we have been given the same commission: “Put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and … my Spirit … shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy” (D&C 11:12–13).

God Will Send His Spirit

All who have been baptized have been commanded to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Actually receiving direction from the Holy Ghost, however, is conditional upon, as President Brigham Young explained, the “wisdom of God and our faithfulness” (Teachings, 68).

How then are we to live so that we may be influenced by the Holy Ghost? Elder James E. Faust, then of the Quorum of the Twelve, suggested guidelines, including “(1) to try honestly and sincerely to keep God’s commandments, (2) to be spiritually attuned as a receiver of a divine message, (3) to ask in humble, fervent prayer, and (4) to seek with unwavering faith” (“Communion with the Holy Spirit,” Ensign, May 1980, 14). God will send the Holy Ghost as he sees best; our challenge is to follow Elder Faust’s counsel and trust in the Lord’s direction.

“To Walk Humbly, to Judge Righteously”

A temple president once told a group of young people attending the temple: “After your own baptism, you were told to receive the Holy Ghost, which means that the Holy Ghost will guide and bless you if you are worthy. If anyone should oppose you, or bring harm to you, you can overcome that opposition by the influence of the Holy Ghost.”

The president soon noticed one young woman sobbing. She explained that her mother opposed her activity in the Church and was angry that she had left for the temple. “I have been fasting ever since I left home that here in the temple I would be given a guide and the power to overcome the opposition of my mother. I was going away disappointed. But now, at the last moment, you have given me the key. … I am going to bring Mother within the influence of the power of the Holy Ghost.”

A few weeks later the temple president received a letter. The young woman explained that her mother was still angry when she returned home. She wrote: “On other occasions I had fought back, but this time I walked over and put my arm around her shoulder. … I told her what a wonderful experience I had had in the temple. And to my amazement, Mother burst into tears and begged my forgiveness” (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, ed. Clyde J. Williams [1996], 96–97).

The Holy Ghost had led this young woman “to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously.” Our lives can be blessed in similar ways as we “put [our] trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good.”

  • How can we more successfully seek the Lord’s Spirit?

  • How has the Lord’s Spirit enlightened your mind?

Illustrated by LaVon Thornton