Boyd K. Packer, “The Gift of the Holy Ghost: What Every Member Should Know,” Ensign, Aug 2006, 46–52. Click here to go to the churches website for this article. Highlighting is mine.
From an address given on June 24, 2003, at a seminar for new mission presidents, Missionary Training Center, Provo, Utah.
My purpose is to teach you through doctrine and scripture why it is that we do things as we do. I will give some direction and suggestions as to how we can do things better in order that each member of the Church will be thoroughly converted and never will fall away.
Joseph Smith said: “You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half-that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost” (History of the Church, 5:499). Continue reading
Eugene England wrote a book titled, Converted to Christ Through the Book of Mormon. Following is part of the introduction he wrote for the book. He makes several important observation about the power of the Book of Mormon:
1. To reconvert life-long church members by bringing them to Christ.
2. “What can we do about our sins?”
I had my “reconversion” to the Book of Mormon (to use the word I have chosen for the experiences of life-long Mormons) when I was a missionary in Hawaii in 1956. Yes, I had read the book and studied passages for talks, but I had not been brought to Christ by it. Continue reading
Critics of the Church of Jesus Christ are delighted when events make LDS prophets and apostles look foolish. Such is the case with the Mark Hofmann forgeries. Critics reason:
How is it that church leaders could meet several times with Mark Hofmann and never discern the dark spirit inside him? How could they not recognize the devil within their midst? LDS prophets, seers, and revelators were unable to see and discern that they were in the same room as a liar, forger, and soon to be murderer.
Did Mark Hofmann fool LDS prophets and apostles? It appears he did. Is that surprising? It shouldn’t be. There is a notion that prophets and apostles should be infallible because they are on the Lord’s errand.
Where did this notion start that prophets and apostles can not be fooled or deceived? Do the scriptures teach that the prophets and apostles can discern the thoughts, intents, and motives of every person they come in contact with? No, the scripture do not teach such a principle. In fact, the scriptures teach that prophets and apostles can be fooled. The Lord taught Joseph Smith:
But as you cannot always judge the righteous, or as you cannot always tell the wicked from the righteous… D&C 10:37. Continue reading
The Book of Mormon uses the phrase “favored of the Lord” to communicate the idea that a follower of Christ can arrive at a point where they are “supplied with advantages”. In other words, they are “regarded with kindness; as a favored friend” by the Lord (the preceding words in quotes are taken from the1828 Webster’s Dictionary, under the heading: “favored”).
The Righteous are Favored
Behold, the Lord esteemeth all flesh in one; he that is righteous is favored of God. 1 Nephi 17:35
This scripture from the Book of Mormon is to the point: The Lord esteemeth all flesh in one; that is, highly valued or prized on account of worth. Everyone is a valued son or daughter of God; however, the righteous have a favored status in His eyes. Continue reading
The restoration of the gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith restored many things that had been lost from the earth. The authority to baptize and confer the gift of the Holy Ghost was among things lost. John the Baptist restored the authority to baptize and confer the gift of the Holy Ghost when he laid his hands on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery (JS-History 1:67-74).
There are many blessings associated with receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Joseph Smith wrote about the change he and Oliver experienced immediately after receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost:
…so soon as I had been baptized by him, I also had the spirit of prophecy, when, standing up, I prophesied concerning the rise of this Church, and many other things connected with the Church, and this generation of the children of men. We were filled with the Holy Ghost, and rejoiced in the God of our salvation.
Our minds being now enlightened, we began to have the scriptures laid open to our understandings, and the true meaning and intention of their more mysterious passages revealed unto us in a manner which we never could attain to previously, nor ever before had thought of… (Pearl of Great Price, JS-History 1:73 – 74) Continue reading
At this Christmas season, I desire to testify of the Saviors Friendship and goodness to me, a struggling soul. I do so with the hope that others will be inspired to further their friendship. And if a friendship doesn’t yet exist, I hope that you’ll have the desire to establish one right away.
As a Mormon, my intended audience, those who I think of when I write, are members of the Mormon church.
Many years ago, the Lord left the ninety and nine and reclaimed me. I was lost and He found me. As a result, I am a witness of His tender mercies and I hope to help others who can be lifted by my witness.
The Savior is a friend of mine. The Savior refers to His followers as friends (D&C 50:41, D&C 84:63, John 15:14-15). I am a follower, therefore I think it’s reasonable to call Him—my Friend. I hope that all of us feel the same way. Continue reading
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We make many decisions, some decisions are without consequence, while others change the course of our entire life. When I was fourteen years old I made a decision that changed my life. I decided to stop going to church. This decision was made in part because of something I learned at church. There are three kinds of doctrine: 1) true doctrine, 2) false doctrine, and 3) incomplete doctrine. I left church because of a doctrine that was taught incompletely.
No one in my family was active so it wasn’t a big deal when I stopped going to church. I left, in part, because I got tired of hearing about how wonderful it was to be born in the covenant and how those who were must have been among the great and noble spirits in the preexistence. Problem was, I wasn’t born in the covenant, my father wasn’t even a member. So the message to me was, “you’re a second class spirit”. I agreed and left church thinking I’d never return. It wasn’t because of unbelief, I believed.
I really did feel second class because of what I had been taught at church. The church and its leaders didn’t provide what I needed at that time in my life. When the family is breaking down like mine was, the church can’t always make up the difference.
Embracing Truth by Throwing Off Falsehoods Continue reading
Heavenly Father has said many things pertaining to the poor and needy, the sick and the afflicted. As followers of Christ he has make it clear what is required of us in order to be His disciples.
And remember in all things the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted, for he that doeth not these things, the same is not my disciple. D&C 52:40
The emphasis the Savior puts on remembering the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted is important for His followers to grasp. One scripture in particular stands out from among all the others when the Lord says:
Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25:40 Continue reading
Regarding revealed knowledge the Lord said:
As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course, or to turn it up stream, as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints( D&C 121:33).
That’s powerful. However, not all revealed knowledge is of equal value! Some knowledge is more valuable because it is knowledge that “saves”. The Book of Mormon contains knowledge that when properly applied opens up the heavens and allows us to be recipients of the things of the Spirit.
For example, Nephi teaches the Doctrine of Christ in just nine verses (2 Nephi 31:13-21). If we’re interested in being true followers of Christ these nine verses have the potential to open the path to our exaltation should if we focus our attention and faith thereon.
As I’ve mingled with church members for the last fifty plus years, one of the great ironies I’ve encountered is that some of the most capable thinkers I’ve known were focused on knowledge that doesn’t save. Continue reading
The doctrine of Christ as revealed in the Book of Mormon teaches church members how to experience the gospel; not just intellectualize it.
The gospel is experienced when we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is far more important to experience the gospel than it is to be a wise and learned gospel scholar. When we experience the gospel we understand it on a whole different level as compared to becoming just a gospel scholar.
What I’ve just said may sound like I’ve got things backwards, after all, doesn’t one need to understand the gospel before they experience it? Yes, there needs to be some basic understanding of the gospel. The following definition from Preach My Gospel, page 5, explains what one needs to understand and believe.
The Savior defined His gospel in terms of the following basic doctrines:
1. He came into the world to do His Father’s will, and His Father sent Him into the world to be lifted up on the cross Continue reading