When we fail to recognize those things that are of greater value and mistakenly pursue something of lesser value, we slow our progress and miss the greater blessings. There is a saying that brings this principle into focus:
“There are many who struggle and climb and finally reach the top of the ladder, only to find that it is leaning against the wrong wall.”
Those who desire to be nearer to God need to make sure they are placing their ladder on the correct wall. Heavenly Father has given us prophets to help insure that we struggle and climb up the ladder that will take us to the correct destination. Hear their counsel:
“Now, if you have the Holy Ghost with you—and every one ought to have—I can say unto you that there is no greater gift, there is no greater blessing, there is no greater testimony given to any man on earth.” Wilford Woodruff, Deseret Weekly, April 6, 1889, 451.
“The greatest gift that a person can have in mortality, without any exception, is the gift of the Holy Ghost…” Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie, Page 350.
“There is no greater blessing that can come into our lives than … the companionship of the Holy Spirit” Gordon B Hinckley, (Boston Massachusetts Regional Conference, 22 Apr. 1995).”
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “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
I hope all who read this will be persuaded that, without any question whatsoever, acquiring the companionship of the Holy Ghost should be the first order of business for every member of the church. Just to make sure that we’re on the same page, I’ll provide another quote. It is one of my favorite:
“Fundamentally, all gospel teachings and activities are centered on coming unto Christ by receiving the Holy Ghost in our lives.” David A. Bednar, “Receive the Holy Ghost”, Ensign, Nov. 2010, 94–98
The Book of Mormon can be thought of as a handbook on how to acquire the companionship of the Holy Ghost. The “how to” doctrine is woven throughout the pages of the Book of Mormon. One example taught by the Savior explains:
Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day. (3 Nephi 27:20)
One of the most powerful declarations found in the Book of Mormon about the value of having the Holy Ghost occurred when the apostles the Savior called, prayed for that which they most desired:
And they did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them. 3 Nephi 19:9
This is a surprising request. It seems so out of place considering they were in the presence of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. They could have asked for anything, yet they knew precisely what they needed. They knelt down to pray and ask the Father for the Holy Ghost. They understood that out of all the things they could ask for, the Holy Ghost was the most important.
I hope church members will understand the importance of coming to Christ by diligently seeking for the Holy Ghost.