"I pray we will sincerely desire and appropriately invite the Holy Ghost into our daily lives," said Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve in the conference address he delivered Sunday afternoon. "I also pray each of us will faithfully obey God's commandments and in reality receive the Holy Ghost."
Elder Bednar said the Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead, the Comforter, a Teacher, and a Revelator. "He is the messenger for the witness of the Father and the Son," he said. "The Holy Ghost is manifested to men and women on the earth both as the power and as the gift of the Holy Ghost."
The power of the holy Ghost can come upon a person before baptism; it is the convincing witness that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, he said. The gift of the Holy Ghost is bestowed only after proper and authorized baptism by the laying on of hands by those holding the Melchizedek Priesthood.
Elder Bednar said the ordinance of confirming a new member of the Church and bestowing the gift of the Holy Ghost is both simple and profound.
"The simplicity of this ordinance may cause us to overlook its significance," he said. "These four words — 'Receive the Holy Ghost' — are not a passive pronouncement; rather they constitute a priesthood injunction — an authoritative admonition to act and not simply be acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:26). The Holy Ghost does not become operative in our lives merely because hands are placed upon our heads and those four important words are spoken. As we receive this ordinance, each of us accepts a sacred and ongoing responsibility to desire, to seek, to work, and to so live that we indeed 'receive the Holy Ghost' and its attendant spiritual gifts."
Continuing, Elder Bednar asked members of the congregation what they can do to make the companionship of the Holy Ghost an ongoing reality. "Let me suggest that we need to, one, sincerely desire to receive the Holy Ghost; two, appropriately invite the Holy Ghost into our lives; and three, faithfully obey God's commandments."
Sincerely desire: Elder Bednar told members they should desire, yearn for and seek the companionship of the Holy Ghost. "Receiving the Holy Ghost starts with our sincere and constant desire for His companionship in our lives."
Appropriately invite: "We more readily receive and recognize the Spirit of the Lord as we appropriately invite Him into our lives," said Elder Bednar. "We cannot compel, coerce or command the Holy Ghost."
Faithfully obey: Elder Bednar said faithfully obeying God's commandments is essential to receiving the Holy Ghost. "Everything the Savior's gospel teaches us to do and to become is intended to bless us with the companionship of the Holy Ghost."
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Elder Bednar said praying, studying, gathering, worshipping, serving and obeying are not isolated and independent items on a lengthy gospel checklist of things to do. "Rather, each of these righteous practices is an important element in an overarching spiritual quest to fulfill the mandate to receive the Holy Ghost."
Elder Bednar closed by telling the congregation how blessed they are to live in a time when the priesthood is upon the earth and they can receive the Holy Ghost. "I witness that the blessings and gifts of the Spirit operate in the restored, in the true and in the living Church of Jesus Christ in these latter days."