“The Gift of the Holy Ghost,” New Era, Sept. 1978, 4
Each member of the Church is baptized or born of the water and of the Spirit. When we are confirmed members of the Church, we receive the “baptism of the Spirit,” which is a sanctifying influence intended to guide us through life. We speak of it as the gift of the Holy Ghost.
All of us receive inspiration through this gift if we live for it and pray for it. It can help us in our school work, in selecting friends, and in reaching the everyday decisions that all must make.
It has been a most important influence also in missionary work. For example: When I was a young missionary, I had as a companion a wonderful man from Rupert, Idaho. His name was Elder Henry L. Baker. We tracted together in a city in eastern Canada.
As we came to one door, a woman responded to our knock and immediately invited us in—before we had a chance to give the usual door approach! Hardly had we entered the house when she said, “Where is the book you were to bring me?”
Naturally we were astonished. But she quickly explained. She said that during the previous night she had had a dream in which she saw us come to her home. It was so vivid, she said, that when she saw us approaching her door, she recognized us instantly. She was told in the dream that we had a book that would lead her entire family to salvation.
Immediately we gave her the Book of Mormon and discussed it at some length with her. She invited us to return that same evening to meet her family, which we did. After an appropriate period of study, the family joined the Church and all are still faithful and true.
About 20 years ago I was assigned to go to Montevideo, Uruguay, to tour the mission and dedicate the first chapel built in that city. During the previous year President David O. McKay had broken ground for that chapel, hoping that he could return and dedicate it. Other duties prevented his doing so, and hence I was sent.
After our dedicatory service an Italian sister came up to shake hands. Before doing so she held out her right hand and asked me to look at it. I did but saw nothing unusual about it. Then she called my attention to a scar in the palm of her hand and explained:
“When President McKay was here to break ground for our chapel,” she said, “I had a cancer in the palm of my hand. The doctors could not help me, and the cancer was spreading. I felt impressed by the Holy Spirit that if I could just touch President McKay’s hand, my cancer would be healed.
“Many people went forward to greet the president, and because there were so many, I became discouraged. But my prompting continued. I felt it was the Holy Spirit urging me on. I did meet the president. My right hand was heavily bandaged, so I had to shake hands with my left hand.
“When I returned home I took the bandage off and to my great delight saw that the cancer was already drying up. I now show you this right hand, all healed, and I want you to tell President McKay about it.”
I had a similar experience in Idaho some years later. I was attending a stake conference. After the Sunday morning session one of the bishops brought his aged mother up to see me. I had been referring to the Book of Mormon during my sermon and was still holding it in my hand.
She took the book from me, opened it, read a paragraph at random, and then returned the book. I wondered why. Then she said that at the previous stake conference the visitor had been Elder Thomas E. McKay, one of the Assistants to the Council of the Twelve.
She asked me if I knew Elder McKay, and of course, I responded that I did. Then she said, “Will you please tell him that I read a paragraph in your book? When he was here at our last conference, my son brought him to my home and had him administer to me. I was blind. Please tell him that I read from your book.”
The power of the Holy Ghost is one of the great resources of the Latter-day Saints if they will only use it. Not only is it by divine power that people are healed, but the Holy Spirit is truly a guide to us in our daily activities.
Each of us has a conscience. When our conscience bids us avoid anything, or when we have fallen into trouble and it urges us to repentance, it is the Spirit influencing us. It can be our salvation.
Let us remember that the glory of God is intelligence and that the glory of mankind is also intelligence.
When the Spirit of God works upon us, we may receive help from the divine intelligence that gives light and direction to our own.
The Savior taught us that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, and “he will guide you into all truth … and he will show you things to come.” (John 16:7–16.)
We have many teachers as we go through life, but the Holy Ghost can become our most important and our best teacher. He is one of the Godhead. His help and influence may come to our aid anywhere and everywhere if we do what is right.
Too many of us take our confirmation in the Church for granted and give little thought to it. But it is our means of obtaining the gift of the Holy Ghost, which may be a constant protection from evil and a great light to illuminate our life’s pathway throughout the years.