“How does the Holy Ghost help you?”
That was the question of Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during the Sunday afternoon session of the 187th Annual General Conference on April 2.
“Before we further consider the question ‘How can the Holy Ghost help you?’ let us review some of what we have learned about the Holy Ghost,” he said.
Elder Stevenson explained that the Holy Ghost, the third member of the Godhead, is a personage of spirit and the gift of the Holy Ghost comes by the laying on of hands.
By understanding who the Holy Ghost is, individuals are able to better understand how the Holy Ghost is able to help a person.
Elder Stevenson shared three key truths about the Holy Ghost.
1. The Holy Ghost warns.
“The Holy Ghost can help you by warning you in advance of physical and spiritual dangers,” he taught. “I learned again of the import warning role of the Holy Ghost while I served in the Area Presidency in Japan.”
Just days prior to the 9.0-magnitutde earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011, one of the mission presidents felt prompted to invite all missionaries serving in several coastal cities — not just the leaders in the mission — to an expanded mission meeting.
“Tragically, many coastal cities — including those from which the missionaries had been gathered — were devastated and suffered great loss of life,” Elder Stevenson said. “And the city of Fukushima suffered a subsequent nuclear event.”
Through following the prompting of the Holy Ghost, the mission president, his wife and all missionaries were safely assembled, out of harm’s way and miles from the devastation.
“As you heed promptings from the Holy Ghost — impressions most often quiet and still — you may be removed, without ever knowing, from spiritual and temporal danger.”
2. The Holy Ghost comforts.
“Unexpected events in all our lives cause sadness, pain and disappointment,” Elder Stevenson taught. “Yet, amid these trials, the Holy Ghost serves us in one of His important roles — Comforter, which is actually one of His names.”
Elder Stevenson told of a woman — pregnant with her first child — who was in a fatal car crash.
“The Holy Ghost in His role as Comforter truly sustained [her husband] through this incomprehensible affliction,” Elder Stevenson said. “The Spirit communicated an abiding peace that led [her husband] Fernando to an attitude of forgiveness and love toward everyone involved in the tragic crash.”
3. The Holy Ghost testifies.
The Holy Ghost testifies and bears witness of all truth, the leader taught.
Continuing with the story of the young woman who died in the car crash, Elder Stevenson told of how her death impacted the family of her young husband — many of whom were not members of the Church.
“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,” Elder Stevenson said. “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.”
Elder Stevenson encouraged listeners to keep themselves worthy of the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
“For those of you who are preparing to be baptized and confirmed, those who recently have been, or even those who were a long time ago, it is vital to our physical and spiritual safety that we keep the gift of the Holy Ghost,” he said.
“We begin to do so by striving to keep the commandments, having individual and family prayer, reading the scriptures and seeking loving and forgiving relationships with family and loved ones. ...
“We should worship our Heavenly Father in our homes, at church, and, whenever possible, in the holy temple. Stay close to the Spirit and the Spirit will stay close to you.”
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