Recently I was pondering the importance of the Holy Ghost when the following thought came to my mind: “The Holy Ghost is to our spirits what the sun is to the earth.” I was a little surprised at first, but the more I thought about it the more instructive it became.
The Earth without the Sun
I don’t know a lot about earth science, but I think I would be safe in saying that without the sun the earth would be a dead planet. I remember studying the importance of photosynthesis to life on the earth. Plants utilize energy from sun light to make oxygen. Without oxygen where would we be? How about the water cycle? Without the sun there would be no water cycle. I think it is safe to say that the earth without the sun would be a very different place than we currently know.
Our Spirits without the Holy Ghost
The scriptures teach that because of the fall of Adam we are spiritually dead.
…for all mankind, by the fall of Adam being cut off from the presence of the Lord, are considered as dead, both as to things temporal and to things spiritual. Helaman 14:16
Spiritual death is real and we are all recipients of this “gift”, it is part of the great plan of happiness. In order to ascend we must first descend (D&C 88:6). To be spiritually dead means many things, but the most telling is that we are “enemies to God” (Mosiah 3:19).
Without the Holy Ghost we are fallen beings, spiritually dead, and therefore enemies to God.
Our Spirits with the Gift of the Holy Ghost
As members of the church we have been baptized for the remission of sins, and confirmed by the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost (Act 2:38). Those who diligently seek for the gift of the Holy Ghost will find Him, and will eventually be “born again”. To be born again means we are no longer spiritually dead. We are made alive in Christ because we are partakers of the blessings of the atonement. And like all newborns we can mature and become like our parent. As sons and daughters of Christ we mature to become like Him.
Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost
The process to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost begins when we’re baptized and confirmed. The question then becomes, “what do I need to do to receive this promised gift of the Holy Ghost?” Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost doesn’t happen automatically, no more than garden produce begins to grow just because the sun rises.
Following are a few things I’ve learned that are essential to fulfill our baptismal covenant and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost:
1. Desire. This is number one on my list because the scripture and common sense teach that we must desire something before we can hope to receive it. In my opinion, desire both precedes, and follows faith. We receive blessings according to our desires (Ether 3:2).
It appears to me that many church members are casual in their desire for the gift of the Holy Ghost. If this is the case, then I fear the Lord will withhold this gift until we hunger and thirst for it (3 Nephi 12:6, Jarom 1:4).
2. Accept and understand our fallen nature. Until we accept and understand we are fallen beings, we will lack the desire to come unto Christ with the faith necessary to be born again. The Book of Mormon teaches the idea that it takes a revelation from God for church members to understand that in spite of our efforts to keep the commandments we are still fallen beings until we receive a remission of our sins (Mosiah 4:2-3).
3. Cry unto the Lord in mighty prayer. Ask Heavenly Father to bless you with the gift to engage in mighty prayer. I believe prayer of this kind is inspired of the Lord. I don’t believe we can do this on our own. Enos said:
And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul… Enos 1:4
This kind of prayer, because it is a gift from the Lord, opens the heavens and allows us to commune with our Heavenly Father on a level that is beyond human capacity.
We are fallen beings living in a fallen world, therefore we are enemies to God until we change and become true followers of Christ. As baptized church members we have the right to receive the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, if we diligently seek for this gift. As we strife to keep the commandments and be true followers of Christ we will eventually receive a remission of our sins and thus be born again, becoming sons and daughters of Christ.
 King Benjamin’s people are described as being “highly favored people of the Lord” because they were “diligent in keeping the commandments” (Mosiah 1:11 & 13). Certainly this highly favored group of former day Saints could recount many instances of service and sacrifice on their part in behalf of the Lord’s work. These people were very much like church members are today. They attended their meetings, donated of their time and substance, served one another in the church and raised their families up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Included in this group of people were church leaders, the equivalent of today’s Prophets, Apostles, Stake Presidents, Patriarchs, Bishops, Relief Society Presidents, High Councilman and so forth (Words of Mormon 1:15-18).